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N. Korea-China Ties Shaky: Expert

Posted December. 06, 2006 06:57,   


“The relationship between North Korea and China can be compared to a river that seems calm on the surface but has a great number of uncertainties surging underwater.”

Kurt Campbell, the senior vice president at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a think- tank in the U.S., had an interview with this newspaper on December 04. Senior vice president Campbell, renowned as an authority in international securities especially regarding China, said, “The official stance of China is to protect North Korea, but the nation is upset internally at the attitude of North Korea that belittles China and the global society. Without a noticeable change in the attitude of North Korea, China might take steps to reappraise its policies toward North Korea it has maintained over the years.”

―You analyzed in a seminar last month that North Korea will come into possession of nuclear capability targeting China.

“North Korea is feeling threats from many sides. What I meant was that while the major military is aimed at the U.S. across the truce line and Japan, North Korea should be aspiring underneath the surface to have suppressive force against China out of concerns regarding their relationship with China.”

At this point, senior vice president Campbell diagnosed that “North Korea seems determined to become a nuclear nation and will not give up on it” and went on to give his view that “even in case North Korea returns to the six-party round table, it will not show fundamental improvements.”

―How do you view the South Korea-U.S relationship in the present and in the future?

“The relationship between South Korea and the U.S is quite stable at the lower level. The greatest risk to the relationship between South Korea and the U.S. presently is not in the relationship itself but in the domestic politics of South Korea. Uncertainties are being aggravated by questions over where President Roh will take the problems (of the Korean Peninsula).”

―You said the South Korea-U.S relationship is stable at a low level.

“The nuclear testing by North Korea helped compose the relationship between South Korea and the U.S. The replacement of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will also help. He was not a factor conducive to the South Korea-U.S. relationship. I think he looked at South Korea not as a profitable strategic partner but as a pain in the ass. In this aspect it was incidental and ironic that the aim of Secretary Rumsfeld and President Roh, regarding matters such as the transfer of right to control strategies in war, converged at the same point. Of course their motivations diverged greatly. On the other hand the future U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates seems to be a person who shares the opinion that having a closer relationship with South Korea is important.”

―How would you grade the response by related nations toward North Korean nuclear testing?

“I hope to see South Korea, the U.S., and China sending North Korea a concurring message. But what I’m concerned about is whether the government of South Korea did not send a message that "even though the nuclear testing was depressing, it was not unforgivable, and a certain level of business can go on.”